London, Dec.29, 2020 The father of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange hopes the next U.S. president will pardon his son, he told dpa on Tuesday, ahead of an expected British court decision on a U.S. extradition request.
The 76-year-old father said that he fears the court on Jan. 4 will rule in favour of the extradition based on the “arbitrary and malicious’’ way his son has been treated during the proceedings, and thus hopes that president-elect Joe Biden will pardon Assange when he is in office.
Nils Melzer, the UN rapporteur on torture, also said Assange’s fate could rest in Biden’s hands.
Melzer told German broadcaster Deutsche Welle that Assange was being denied his basic rights and that he believed he would not receive a fair trial in London.
Melzer said earlier this month that Assange’s health has seriously deteriorated behind bars in Britain, “to the point where his life is now in danger,’’ and asked U.S. President, Donald Trump for a pardon.
Assange could face up to 175 years in prison in the United States on charges of stealing and publishing classified material on U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, which exposed war crimes committed by U.S. soldiers.
British police arrested him in April 2019 at the Ecuadorian embassy, where he had taken refuge for seven years, for failing to surrender to an earlier warrant linked to unrelated Swedish charges that were eventually dropped.